Monday 4 October 2010

Review: Buried

Year: 2010
Director: Rodrigo Cortes
Screenplay: Chris Sparling
Starring: Ryan Reynolds

Note: The last paragraph doesn't explicitly spoil anything about the film, however, it may open enough of a door for you to guess an aspect of the plot.

Uncompromising in it's intent and with an impressive energy, Buried is certainly an unrelenting experience. Director Rodrigo Cortes shoots the hell out his one location and gives us a thriller that is not only utilizes it's claustrophobic atmosphere brilliant with the cinematography and lighting, but also gains a great performance from Ryan Reynolds which captures a wide spectrum of thoughts and fears from someone in such a nightmarish experience.

With it's first seen shot (the movie starts in darkness) being reminiscent of one of my favorite moments of The Blair Witch Project  (Heather's apologies) I knew I was about to "enjoy" Buried. The use of the quotes is a simple one, as there is a sense of hopelessness that flows throughout the film and left me, the viewer with an unshakable level of dread. Cortes' works wonders setting's space (or lack thereof) creating a vast sense of unease and tension with the use of sound and tight camerawork. I found it hard to sit still and the reason was simple, I felt like I was in there with him. Every shuffle, every twitch and every scream for help feels as if it will never be heard. To give that feel is a difficult one, one that was previously used stunningly in The Vanishing (1988) and more recently The Decent (2006). It helps even more if you hold a phobia for such things (I don't but I could see why many do) as every small tweak in the plot feels amplified by the stakes being so raw and simple. The basic need to survive, can sometimes be neglected in many films, particularly in thrillers but not here. Your with Paul (Reynolds) every step of the way.

Like Moon (2009), Buried is an excellent way of display an actors talents and Reynolds brings all of his in spades. A charming presence in laggy, bland comic affair; Reynolds is a truly engaging presence here. I panicked when he panicked, I shudder with the same despair he gave and his comic timing gives the films humor (yes it is there) and wickedly absurdest drollness. To hold someones attention for 90 mins is getting tougher by the year and Reynolds manages it incredibly. It's his likability that really carries the film across.  Even when it has to dig deep to keep the film interesting, his engaging persona helps give an air of plausibility.

I had a "good time" with Buried even though I'm clearly never going to check it out again. To explain the reason could really ruin the experience to those who haven't seen it yet. It's not that there's anything in the film I felt was done badly, on the contrary; it's the fact that there's moments in the film that questioned my mortality and how fragile it is effectively enough that to watch again almost feels sadistic. This is coming from a man who owns A LOT of Hanke, so to me that says quite a bit.